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The Top 7... Sega series we want back

2 – Jet Set Radio

Prior to its release in 2000, there wasn’t really anything like Jet Grind Radio (aka Jet Set Radio) – and, aside from its sequel/remakes on the Xbox and Game Boy Advance, there hasn’t been anything like it since. One of the first series to use cel-shaded graphics, it combined gravity-defying in-line skate tricks with graffiti tags, catchy licensed soundtracks and lighthearted gang warfare to create something anarchically silly and uniquely Japanese.


Above: Also, being chased by riot cops was a pretty new thing in those days

It was also hugely, ridiculously fun, and its semi-free-roaming vision of a near-future Tokyo (or “Tokyo-to”) was a blast to explore. Grinding on rails and using the momentum to skate up the side of a wall before somersaulting to a high platform was uniquely satisfying, especially when you could lay down a huge, elaborate tag once you were up there. The idiot cops and aggressive rival gang members were fun to mess with, and collecting a stable of new skaters – each with different abilities – was addictive, even for those who only ever used nominal protagonist Beat.


Above: To be fair, Beat was a pretty cool guy

Sadly, the first game flopped on Dreamcast, even after being marked down to $10 months later. That didn’t stop Sega from trying, though, and in 2002, it brought JGR’s slicker, more streamlined sequel, Jet Set Radio Future, to the Xbox. The visuals looked prettier, the skaters were easier to control and the environments were a lot more elaborate, but Xbox owners turned out to be just as disinterested as Dreamcast owners. JSRF flopped hard, and not even including it as a pack-in game with the Xbox could get people interested in the franchise.

Sega gave Jet Set one last shot in 2004, rolling out an excellent GBA remake of Jet Grind Radio – and since then, the series has been silent. A couple of the characters have made cameos in other Sega games, but after Sega reportedly shot down a Wii sequel proposal from developer Headstrong in 2008, it seems the series is dead and gone. It’s possible Sega’s secretly been working on its own sequel for three years, but that’s unlikely – and also a shame, because we’d love to see what current-gen systems could do with its cartoony, stunt-friendly version of Tokyo. (Just maybe not on Wii. It doesn’t need to fail catastrophically for a fourth time.)


1 – Panzer Dragoon

We have a history of bringing up Okami as often as possible, but if we had to pick a second game (or series, in this case) to champion on a daily basis it would be Panzer Dragoon. It began as an on-rails shooter that helped launch the Saturn, then blossomed into an amazingly imaginative RPG that, despite its awesomeness, helped bury the Saturn. Regardless of the gameplay approach, this setting and concept absolutely deserve to survive; riding on the back of a dragon while huge monsters swarm around a breathtaking world that stretches to the horizon… yeah, we’d play that in HD.


Above: Ugly in stills, but it’s so much more in motion

It made a brief return on the original Xbox, which took a step away from the RPG aspects that made Panzer Dragoon Saga such an alluring prospect. Oh, the Xbox sequel (Orta) was plenty gorgeous, but after sampling Saga’s sweeping story and enhanced battle system, cramming the experience back into a shooting gallery tube was kind of heartbreaking. To bring this inventive series back, we’d want a full-fledged action-RPG sequel that picks up where Saga’s famously botched ending left off. Maybe even drum up interest by releasing an HD update of the Saturn version?


Above: The original game’s first stage contains one of our favorite game songs of all time

We realize it may be hard to understand why we’re so taken with not just the robust Panzer Dragoon Saga, but also the first two fly-straight-and-shoot games. There’s just something about the way the design, gameplay and music all come together to create something better than its rudimentary polygons; in our eyes, Dragoon is a rare case of someone other than Miyamoto capturing the “Nintendo magic” that makes its games so endearing and enduring. Gaming is a less interesting scene without this series, so if any of Sega’s long lost, mishandled franchises get a second (third, fourth) chance at life, please let it be this one.

It was pretty hard to pick just seven Sega franchises worth resurrecting, as it excluded many beloved titles. Here are just some of the Sega greats that barely missed the cut. Did we miss your favorite?

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Topics

Top 7

104 comments

  • TehKnuck - July 31, 2011 1 a.m.

    Seeing Dark Wizard at least mentioned in this article via box art at the end makes my heart happy. I spent HOURS playing that game in middle school.
  • thochaos - May 21, 2011 8:33 a.m.

    Shining and Force and Shenmue are what I want back!
  • Gob - May 14, 2011 9:34 p.m.

    I play Orta on my 360 on occasion, and was extremely taken with it when I first got it for Xbox original. It, and Jet-Set need to return, badly.
  • bast902 - May 14, 2011 3:48 p.m.

    I'd kill for a new panzer dragoon, or at the very least, a release of Orta on xbox live originals, as i can not for the life of me come across a disc copy for sale anywhere.
  • rxb - May 13, 2011 1:30 p.m.

    I would do a hate crime for a new Jet Set Radio
  • darksongbird - May 12, 2011 5:15 p.m.

    The majority of these games I've never played. I have experienced Toe Jam & Earl (which isn't that great) and Streets of Rage (fun beat em up) but just about all the others I've never had a chance to even get into. I bet most of them are fun though! And the music to Panzer Dragoon was kick ass!!
  • Tomsta666 - May 12, 2011 8:11 a.m.

    What? NO ALEX KIDD??? Absolutely unforgivable
  • MtnMax99 - May 12, 2011 12:48 a.m.

    Toy Commander is overall my favorite game of all time
  • 80sMullet - May 11, 2011 11:54 p.m.

    As always - great podcast but I have to raise an issue - I'll post this here because someone might read it - make your website easier to navigate. It's like someone handed it over to the programmers with no real people filter.
  • Jayseph - May 11, 2011 9:51 p.m.

    The original Toejam and Earl is one of my most favouritist games of all time. I'd love to see them back in a new adventure. Hate the idea about making them more 'relevant' though. That would be just plain embarrassing, like your dad trying to be cool, talking about "hippety-hop" I loved Shining Force and it's proper sequels and I've been pining for that franchise ever since my Saturn. I was heartbroken when SF3 Parts 2 and 3 didn't get a Western release. Valkyria Chronicles is a worthy spiritual successor but it's just not the same without Slade and Gerhalt tearing the place up.
  • Wolfman3000 - May 11, 2011 7:08 p.m.

    #6 should be #1 and #2-7 should be streets of rage.
  • LBD_Nytetrayn - May 11, 2011 6:53 a.m.

    What? No Alex Kidd? And to everyone who keeps saying Power Stone (or Breath of Fire), the list is for SEGA's franchises, not everyone else.
  • JBizFoShiz - May 11, 2011 6:37 a.m.

    The reason Sega makes movie games is because they're guaranteed money-makers (to be fair, they're not USUALLY outright terrible - just not good games) Did you read the article? I love JSR and JSRF as much as the next guy, but they flopped HARD. I bought Jet Grind on day one. My friend waited until it was $10... The fact is, other than Sonic, Sega has nothing going for it in the 2011 mainstream. Also, unsure if an earlier comment took care of this, but the Power Stone series belongs to Capcom, not Sega. Skies of Arcadia is a game I'd like to revisit or have a sequel made of...but that too flopped big time. Or imagine a revamped Jet Set Radio with online gameplay. So. Much. Drool.
  • DeathbyFira - May 11, 2011 2:27 a.m.

    Dude JetSetRadio is sooooo awesome one of my favorite games of all time and alot of people missd out on this and i wish i could go on a Jay and Slient bob bender and punch them in the nuts for that this game so needs to come back i love it if they made a new one of crap a ds or psp remake
  • jasonn1231 - May 11, 2011 1:02 a.m.

    um SHENMUE ANYONE????
  • Modroneman - May 10, 2011 9:24 p.m.

    I used to own a copy of Shining Force for the Sega Saturn. Bought it for $80, but I sold it a couple of years ago for $120.
  • DizzyDial - May 10, 2011 9:19 p.m.

    Shenmue, Power Stone, and above all else, Skies of Arcadia.
  • CoryM1134 - May 10, 2011 7:48 p.m.

    Supah Blothas! I had my Dreamcast out a few weeks ago and played through JGR again. The controls and camera show their age, and the game is really short (if you don't spend a lot of time with time trials, etc.). Given a good team, though, a brand new one could be amazing. There is just something about playing JGR that you can't get from any other game, ever.
  • Zanthis - May 10, 2011 5:37 p.m.

    Yes, we need more Jet Grind Radio
  • bulletswine - May 10, 2011 5:29 p.m.

    I'd give up my left nut for a new Jet Set Radio game!

Showing 1-20 of 104 comments

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